Paradise Wood Mapping Project

Earth Trust, 7th October 2022

Paradise Wood was planted by Earth Trust in the 1990s, as a research centre for hardwood trees and today it is a unique resource for research, learning and advocacy.

With funding from Vastern Timber, Sylva Foundation and Earth Trust are working together on a new mapping project, using Sylva’s myForest programme, to develop an online UK Forestry Standard management plan. This plan will help Earth Trust to understand the full capability of Paradise Wood’s precious genetic resources, and provide them and Sylva Foundation with the digital information to engage expert partners who can help realise the woodland’s potential to help society and nature, while also adapting to climate change.

Gabriel Hemery,  co-founder of Sylva Foundation explains: “Paradise Wood was created at a time where there was no investment in hardwoods and a lot of focus on commercial conifers. It was set up as a research woodland.

“The trials we see here are often planted and replicated elsewhere across Britain, but this is the one site in the country where all those trials can be found together in one place. So it’s a place where not only great research can happen, but also where we foresters can do advocacy. We can explain to landowners the benefits of planting one tree or another, and in managing woodland one way or another.

“It’s an absolutely unique and special place in Britain, there’s nowhere else like it in the country. “

Funding for this project is provided by Vastern Timber’s 1% Woodland Tax initiative. One of the largest hardwood saw-milling companies in the UK, Vastern specialises in British grown timbers and reserves one percent of turnover for supporting projects that help woodland thrive. The funding is supporting Sylva Foundation to “read the woodland”, understand what’s growing, where, and why, in a silvicultural sense.

Ian Nutt, Earth Trust Director of Programmes and Partnerships, highlights the value of this partnership: “Sylva Foundation is an ​​environmental charity helping trees and people grow together by supporting woodland owners to manage their woodlands, but does not itself own much woodland.  We own 500ha of land – a third of which is woodland. So, if we work together – Sylva’s forestry expertise with our woodland, their research interests and our advocacy experience – we can create a really powerful partnership. And Sylva Foundation and Earth Trust were both founded by Sir Martin and Lady Audrey Wood so as sister charities we are delighted to be working together.

“This mapping project is the beginning of an exciting relationship that we can use to bring in other research partners, and help to realise the potential of this incredible research woodland asset.”

Read Vastern Timber’s blog post and watch Tom Barnes, with Gabriel Hemery from Sylva Foundation, talking about the project and why Paradise Wood is such an important site.